THE WHITE MAN AND SNAKE
South African Folk Tale
by James A. Honey
A white man, it is said, met Snake
upon whom a large stone had fallen
and covered her so that she could not
rise. The White Man lifted the stone off
Snake, but when he had done so, she wanted to
bite him. The White Man said, "Stop! let us
both go first to some wise people." They went
to Hyena, and the White Man asked him, "Is
it right that Snake should want to bite me,
when I helped her as she lay under a stone and
could not rise?"
Hyena (who thought he would get his share
of the White Man's body) said, "If you were
bitten what would it matter?"
Then Snake wanted to bite him, but the
White Man said again, "Wait a little, and let
us go to other wise people, that I may hear
whether this is right."
They went and met Jackal. The White Man
said to Jackal, "Is it right for Snake to want
to bite me, when I lifted up the stone which lay
Jackal replied, "I do not believe that Snake
could be covered by a stone so she could not
rise. Unless I saw it with my two eyes, I would
not believe it. Therefore, come let us go and
see the place where you say it happened whether
it can be true."
They went, and arrived at the place where
it had happened. Jackal said, "Snake, lie
down, and let thyself be covered."
Snake did so, and the White Man covered
her with the stone; but although she exerted
herself very much, she could not rise. Then
the White Man wanted again to release Snake,
but Jackal interfered, and said, "Do not lift
the stone. She wanted to bite you, therefore
she may rise by herself."
Then they both went away and left Snake
under the stone.